STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Jalen Steele, who has endured a string of major injuries during his time at Mississippi State, has decided not to play this season and will instead focus on graduating in the spring.
The 6'3" guard from Knoxville, who has suffered two torn ACLs and a broken wrist during his three years as a student-athlete, appeared in 78 games for the Bulldogs, drawing 33 starts. In a span of two years, however, the rash of injuries forced him to miss a total of 19 games.
For his career, he averaged 8.0 points and 2.0 rebounds while dishing out 72 assists.
“What Jalen has experienced with injuries has been extremely unfortunate,” MSU coach Rick Ray said. “He’s battled through a lot of adversity, and it’s important we do everything we can to support and help him earn his degree from Mississippi State.”
Steele said on Twitter Tuesday night that he's "not done playing" and "just wanted to take a year off to get stronger and be strong for my senior year."
If Steele graduates from MSU in the spring as planned, he could play for another program in the 2014-15 season without having to sit out a year.
Ray told reporters Tuesday night that MSU doesn't have a scholarship available for Steele for the 2014-15 season due to prior commitments. Steele will be on scholarship this season, even though he's not playing.
The Bulldogs begin practice on Sept. 30 and open the regular season on Nov. 8 at Humphrey Coliseum against Prairie View A&M.